Monday, 26 October 2015

Footie Anyone?

Well the football season is well underway and the Rugby World Cup final is just around the corner, so what better time to start a little section of the storefont on (The History of) Sport?

Mainly football at the moment, but let me know if you have any particular 'wants'.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

How to Best Celebrate Trafalgar Day?

Buy a book, of course!

You can see our Naval books here and more general Napoleonic ones here.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Zombies Anyone?

It's apparently Zombtober and Halloween is almost on us.  So when best to try to flog some top-rate graphic novels featuring the Undead?

I'm a 'Z-Nation' man myself

Dredd vs Death

Alan Moore's take on Jack the Ripper

These can be found in our Comics/Graphic Novels section.

Or if you prefer words to pictures and Vamps to Zeds, how about a critical study of the Slayer herself?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Good News Everybody!

I'm back from my small break, so the Inventory is back on-line.

I didn't forget Diplomatist Books while I was away and have a table full of books to add to stock.  So over the next week expect some interesting titles on most of the areas we cover - stand-outs are titles on the History of Exploration, the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War.  Details will be put on our Facebook page as the updates are made.

As ever, feel free to contact us if you'd like to flag your 'wants'.

Friday, 14 August 2015

A Word of Explanation...

I'm sorry not to have done this earlier but I'll like to advise why those of you trying to search our stock are getting the message
This seller's inventory is temporarily unavailable. Please try your search with another AbeBooks Bookseller.
Well, the first thing to say is don't try another seller!  The second is to reassure you that the reason is nothing more sinister than a short holiday.  We will be back up and running next week.

As ever, I've kept my book-head on and this afternoon have bought some more goodies for your consideration.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Tackling the Book Mountain

Over on The Blog With No Name Ian is doing an interesting thing.   He's taken three books that have been languishing on his To-Read pile and is asking his readers to vote on which he should read next.

This tickles my fancy, and I sincerely hope it becomes A Thing among bloggers.  I shall certainly do it on my personal blog as soon as a slot arises in my reading*.  I think most of us can relate to Ian's situation.  My wife recently reduced my To-Read pile by two-thirds by the simple expedient of having me remove the table by my bed and replacing it with a small bookcase!

Not this one!

* For the record I'm currently reading a book on Room 40 (the naval code-breakers in World War I), one on Bletchley Park, and Pratchett and Baxter's The Long Earth.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A Warm Fuzzy Feeling

This evening a customer took the trouble to ring me to talk about a book I had sent him last week (he did try yesterday, but I was in the pub watching The Clangers).

He is in his 80s and isn't too comfortable with the Internet.  He uses the public library when he needs to go on-line, but on the whole his daughter finds him books on-line and places the orders.  He remarked on how souless the experience was - often books arrive inadequately packaged and without even a shipping manifest.  He seemed to think that me doing as a simple thing as enclosing a postcard wishing him enjoyment of the book was something special!

Well, I agree with him that buying on-line can be soulless.  But it works both ways.  It's very pleasing to have a customer send an e-mail of thanks or to ring.  So thank you to those of you do.

Monday, 8 June 2015


Just a reminder that Diplomatist Books has a presence on FaceBook.  If you want to know of updates here, updates too minor to deserve a blog post, book reviews we've thought helpful, or just 'stuff' we feel like sharing sign up as a follower.

However, if you do so, can I suggest that you interact in some way?  FaceBook's algorithm-things are such that you won't see the posts unless you do so.  So, if you have a notification from us, feel free to 'like' or make a comment.  The comments don't have to be profound (my preferred type would be along the lines of "Hell yes!  Take my money!  I want to buy that!", but it doesn't have to be).

I promise not to bombard you with crap.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Grey Owl

One of the more interesting writers of the 1930s was Grey Owl (1888-1938).  He was well-known in the 1930s from a series of books and lectures extolling the Native American way of life and nature conservation, particularly of  beavers, then still hunted for their skins.  He went on many lecture tours (my father heard him in Manchester).

After his death it transpired that he was not the child of a Scottish father and an Apache mother born in Montreal (or the US or Mexico) as he claimed, but Archibald Stansfeld Belaney, born in Hastings, Sussex.  He had emigrated to Canada in 1906 where he became a trapper before falling in love with the First Nations.  In addition, he was a bigamist, by some accounts being married five times.

For many years Grey Owl's lies overshadowed his environmentalist message, but recently he has been re-evaluated.  He was the subject of a 1999 film by Richard Attenborough and is admired by promoters of woodcraft, such as Ray Mears.

This post is prompted by the following new addition to our stock, one of his books for children in which Sajo, a young Ojibwe Indian girl, and her older brother adopt two young beavers, Chilawee and Chikanee, and try to save them from fur traders.
The Adventures of Sanjo and Her Beaver People, Lovat Dickson Ltd, London (1937 printing).  hb, 256pp, plates and illus, no d/w.  Spine slightly stained and faded. Signed by author. Ownership inscription.  £7.00.

My Little Helper

Moley is helping photograph the new stock.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Would You Buy A Used Book from This Man?

Or 'How Not to Do a Customer Follow-Up"

My wife recently bought a book from a fellow dealer on AbeBooks.  Yesterday she got the following e-mail:
We're just checking in to see if you received your order (XXXX) fom XXXX.  If your order hasn't blessed your mailbox yet please let us know.

If you haven't received your order or are less than 108.8% satisfied, please reply to this message. We aim to flabbergast our customers with impeccable service so do let us know if we haven't achieved this in your case. . 
Humbly Yours,
Believe it or not, I've improved the formatting of the message.

I'm a believer in customer care and getting feedback, but this is just WRONG!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Where Do You Ship To?

I'm often asked the above question, and the answer is 'Wherever you're prepared to pay the postage for!'.

I just happen to have a handy pie chart showing the destinations of the first 101 books we sold through AbeBooks...

Monday, 13 April 2015

New Stock

We just had a largish order of remaindered books delivered and in the last few days added the to the website.  These are books in 'as new' condition straight from our wholesaler at what we think are very attractive prices.

There are some old familiar titles that we've had in the past and which had sold out, but the great majority are new to us, and we hope will prove just as popular.  They cover the whole gamut of military history from Alexander the Great to the War on Terrorism - in all there are 40 new titles (including 14 on the Napoleonic Wars alone).  We hope that there will be something for everyone!

But remember, although we only have a restock of warehouse titles like these three or four times a year, second-hand books are coming in all the time and we add stock every week.  Remember to visit often to see what's available or to let us know what your specific wants are.

Monday, 23 March 2015


As we mark the bicentenary of the 100 Days, I thought it might be time to dust off and update this post, which first appeared on my personal blog.

Greenhill Books and The Napoleonic Library

This week I'm going to talk about The Napoleonic Library, a series published by Greenhill Books.

Greenhill Books has an interesting history itself.  It was an  imprint founded in 1985 by Lionel Leventhal a giant in military history publishing (he also established the London Book Fair).  Having just sold Arms & Armour Press (which he had founded in the 1960s) and Ken Trotman Books, Leventhal was contractually prevented from publishing any new books, so Greenhill reprinted long-out-of-print and hard-to-find classics of military history.

Thirty-five of these titles were in the Napoleonic Library.

We have the following Greenhill publications in stock among our Napoleonic titles.

William Swabey, Diary of Campaigns in the Peninsula for the Years 1811, 12 and 13 by Lt William Swabey, an Officer of E Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, Ken Trotman (1984), pb, 217pp. £9.00.

Alexander Cavalié Mercer, Journal of the Waterloo Campaign, The Napoleonic Library Vol 1, Greenhill Books (1985), hb, d/w, 388pp. Slight foxing to the top- and fore-edge, but overall in very good condition. £10.00.   General Cavalié Mercer (1783-1868) commanded G Troop, Royal Horse Artillery through the Waterloo Campaign and at the battle itself. His journal was first published in 1870 – this is a facsimile of an 1927 edition.

George Simmons, A British Rifle Man: Journals and Correspondence During the Peninsular War and the Campaign of Wellington, Napoleonic Library Vol 3, Greenhill Books (1986), hb, d/w, 386pp. £10.00.  Facsimile of the first, 1899, edition.

Charles Oman. Wellington’s Army, 1809-1814, The Napoleonic Library Vol 4, Greenhill Books (1986), h, d/w, 395pp. Slight foxing to the top- and fore-edge, but overall in very good condition. £12.00.   Facsimile of the first, 1913, edition of Sir Charles’ classic work on the composition and organisation of the Peninsular Army.

A F Becke, Napoleon and Waterloo: The Emperor’s Campaign with the Armée du Nord, The Napoleonic Library Vol 29, Greenhill Books (1995), hb, d/w, 320pp. £10.00.   A reprint of the 1936 edition of Major Becke’s work.

Maude, F.N., The Jena Campaign, 1806 The Napoleonic Library Vol 35, Greenhill Books (1998), hb. d/w, 202pp, fold-out maps.  £9.00.

Austin, Paul Britten, 1812: Napoleon's Invasion of Russia"1812: March on Moscow", "1812: Napoleon in Moscow", "1812: The Great Retreat",  Greenhill Books (2000), Three books in one. pb, 416pp, 264pp & 464pp. Cover and spine creased.  £8.00.

Austin, Paul Britten, 1815: The Return of Napoleon, Greenhill Books (2002), hb, d/w, 336pp, plates.  New. £7.50.

Uffindell, Andrew & Corum, Michael, On the Fields of Glory: The Battlefields of the 1815 Campaign, Greenhill Military Paperback, (2002), pb. 320pp.  New.  £7.50.

Glover, Gareth, From Corunna to Waterloo: The Letters and Journals of Two Napoleonic Hussars, 1801-1816, Greenhill Books (2007), hb. d/w, 217pp.  £7.50.

The full list of titles we hold on the Napoleonic Wars can be found here.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Grabenbekfeidung Anybody?

I know this is going to appeal to some of you!

Vocabulary of German Military Terms and Abbreviations (Revised to 1942), HMSO (1943), soft cover, 219pp.,   Vocab book produced by the War Office for the use of intelligence officers.  Ownership sig on cover.  £3.00

Monday, 9 March 2015

The Cold War

Having just listed Helmut Schmidt's Defence or Retaliation I wondered what else we had in stock for Cold War Warriors.  More than I originally thought.

Mark Urban, Soviet Land Power, Littlehampton Book Services Ltd (1985), hb.  As new.  £4.50.

Andrew Wilson, The Bomb and the Computer: The History of Professional Wargaming 1780- 1968, History of Wargaming Project (2014), pb, 197pp,   New.  £12.95.

The Generals...

Michael Tillotson, Fifth Pillar: The Life and Philosophy of Field Marshal the Lord Bramall KG, GCB, OBE, MC, History Press (2006), 338pp, plates.  As new.  £3.00

Brian Wyldbore-Smith, March Past: The Memoirs of a Major-General, The Memoir Club (2001), hb, d/w, 166pp, plates.  Signed and inscribed by the author.  £3.00.

Richard Dannatt, Leading from the Front: The Autobiography, Bantam Press (2010), hb, d/w, 410pp, plates.  As new.  £4.00

Michael Carver, Britain's Army in the 20th Century, MacMillan (1998), hb, d/w,  As new.  £8.00.

And the view from the ranks...

Rick Stroud & Victor Gregg, Rifleman: A Front-Line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Bloomsbury Paperbacks (2011), pb, 273pp, plates.  As new.  £3.00.

Tom Hickman, The Call Up: A History of National Service 1947-1963, Headline (2004), hb.  As new,  £3.50.


Anthony Farrar-Hockley, The Army in the Air: The History of the Army Air Corps, Sutton Publishing Ltd (1994), hb.  £3.50.

Let's not forget the Navy!

Paul Beaver, The Royal Navy in the 1980s (Warships Illustrated), pb, 1985.  £2.00.

John Batchelor & Christopher Chant, The Complete Encyclopedia of Submarines 1578-2006, Rebo (2009), hb.  £4.00.

And the Spooks....

Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5, Penguin (2010), pb, 1044pp, £4.00.

Nigel West, A Matter of Trust: MI5, 1945-72, Weidenfield and Nicolson Ltd (1982), hb, d/w, 196pp, plates.  £3.00.

Archie Roosevelt, For Lust of Knowing: Memoirs of an Intelligence Officer, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1988), hb, d/w, 500pp, plates.   £4.00.   The author, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and cousin of Franklin D Roosevelt, served in the CIA from 1942 to 1974 throughout the Middle East

And, of course, there's also Korea, Vietnam and other late twentieth century conflicts...

Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Boast Board

Several of our customers have been kind  enough to take the trouble to write nice things about us.  It seems only fitting to share these with you, so I have established a Boast Board on the website.

Go and share the in the warm and fuzzy feelings we're having.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Sir Martin Gilbert (1936-2015)

Martin Gilbert, a giant among historians of the twentieth century died on 3 February.  He wrote over 90 books, but is best known for his monumental official biography of Sir Winston Churchill, which occupied 25 years of his life (starting as research assistant to Randolph Churchill).

Daily Telegraph obit

Our Part of the Gilbert mountain

Sunday, 15 February 2015

A Rant On the Parceling of Books

In his extraordinarily kind review of Diplomatist Books, Gary Amos (ever the practical sort) makes the point of praising our packaging.

I come to bookselling as someone who has spent decades buying secondhand books through the post.  Like Gary, I'm a curmudgeonly Northerner and deplore the recent-ish tendency to send books out in thin cardboard envelopes or plastic bags.  Books (and postage) are expensive enough: I don't want to receive them in a damaged state!

There is no real need for it - once you're sending even a small book through the post you have almost certainly sent what the Post Office defines as a Small Parcel.  At that postal rate you can go up to 2kg, so can go to town on packaging.  The real culprits are the soulless sellers who think in terms of economies of scale and 'time spent' (and then have the cheek to charge a 'handling fee'!).  Yet Jiffy Bags and bubble-wrap are not expensive.
If you buy a book or books from me, the minimum packaging will be a Jiffy Bag (let's face it - they're convenient and designed to fit in the post box on the corner of the street).  If it's too big to go in a Jiffy Bag, then I will parcel it and take it to the Post Office counter or courier drop-off point.  That parcel may be in a box (which will contain packing material so the books don't rattle about) or it may be (sufficient!) bubble-wrap and brown paper.  All the seams will be sealed, it will have my return address on it and, if appropriate, will have a Customs declaration.
I can't guarantee that your postal handler won't damage the books but if any damage come to them before they arrive with you, get back to me.  If like me you have a dog who delights in waiting for the postman and destroying whatever is crammed through the letter-box, that is your problem to solve.

When he can't get post...
My favorite delivery of books was some years ago when I bought some maritime journals from a man who ran a Museum of Knots - they were in a heavy-duty carton which was wrapped in brown paper and then tied with tarred string.   The knotting was constructed in such a way as to provide a handle to carry the parcel and the knots untied so it could be kept and reused (I kept it for years though I never used it - it smelled wonderful!).

A last point, by popular demand I have added the 'Follower' widget to the blog layout.  I'm sorry not to have done this before, but blogger seem to have hidden it deeply among the extra gadgets (I suspect part of a ploy to get us using Google+ for everything).  But a fellow blogger has pointed it out, so, if you want to add Diplomatist Books to your blog-roll, it's now easier.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

History of Wargaming Project

As announced last month, we have decided to stock publications of the History of Wargaming Project.  This is something of a leap for us - unlike our other titles, they are not remaindered or second-hand.  Initially we have chosen ten titles: these have now arrived and are listed in the Modelling, Wargaming and Counterfactual section of our inventory.  Those of you who reserved volumes should have received an e-mail from me.

The titles on offer include new editions and reprints of classic works of wargaming literature - Donald Featherstone and Paddy Griffiths - as well as studies on the origins of recreational wargaming.  For those interested in professional wargaming, there is Andrew Wilson's The Bomb and the Computer as well as the scarily topical Dark Guest: Training Games for Cyber Warfare.

Do let me know what you think of the mix of titles!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Defeat of Austria As Seen by the 7th Division

As promised, here is one of the titles picked up at auction last week

Crosse, E C, The Defeat of Austria As Seen by the 7th Division: Being a Narrative of the Fortunes of the 7th Division from the Time it Left the Asiago Plateau in August 1918 Till Conclusion of the Armistice With Austria on November 4 1918,  H F W Deane & Sons (1919), Maps and sketches by Sgt E Luton, RGA, hb, 115pp; plates; fold-out maps and maps in pouch. Some marks to the cover. Ownership inscription, £18.00
This is an unusual divisional history, covering a campaign that doesn't often get the attention it deserves - that up through Italy into Austria in the closing months of the War.

The Revd EC Croose, DSO, MC, CF
The author was the Revd (later Revd Canon) Ernest Courtenay Crosse, senior chaplain to the Division.  He was born on 18 March 1887 and educated at Clifton College and Balliol College, Oxford.  He was ordained in 1912 and served as assistant chaplain at Marlborough College before volunteering as a Chaplain to the Forces.  He was attached to the Devonshire Regt and arrived in France in 1915, serving on the Somme.  After the War he taught in New Zealand but later returned to England, becoming headmaster of Ardingly College in Sussex,  He died in 1955.

The book itself has seen some wear, but despite staining to the covers is still in Very Good condition.  The large ownership inscription, with its change of address might put some off, but to me it is added history - after all A T Knight was almost certainly a veteran of the 7th Division.